JAN 20, 2020 9:07 PM PST

Ovarian Cancer Protein Accelerates Alzheimer's Neurodegeneration

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Around 21,000 people in the US are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year, while an estimated 5.8 million Americans have Alzheimer’s. Now, researchers from Houston Methodist Cancer Center have found that a protein linked to ovarian cancer that may also contribute to the neurodegenerative effects of Alzheimer’s disease. 

Stepehen T.C. Wong, the lead author of the study said, “Our research addresses a fundamental question of Alzheimer's disease -- how, or if, amyloid beta accumulation that can be seen up to two decades prior to brain function decline is involved in progressive neurodegeneration...Examining factors that contribute to the progressive decline in people with Alzheimer's will help us develop diagnostic biomarkers and new therapeutics."

In their study, the researchers used computational methods to examine archived bioinformatics data of brain tissue from deceased Alzheimer’s patients as well as mouse models. In the end, they found that ovarian cancer protein OCIAD1 accelerates the progressive neurodegeneration found in Alzheimer’s by reducing mitochondria function. As mitochondria are the “powerhouse of cells”, damage to them eventually leads to cell death and thus damage to neurons, and overall brain function. 

Xuping Li, Ph.D., also an author of the study said, “We applied a system biology strategy to see if we could find a different mechanism of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease. We identified OCIAD1 as a new neurodegeneration-relevant factor, predicted its function, and demonstrated it mediates the long-term impact of amyloid beta on cells and synaptic damages by impairing mitochondria function.”

Whereas most research into Alzheimer’s has previously focused on amyloid beta alone, or connections between amyloid beta and protein tau, these findings add to a growing body of research suggestive of another role for protein amyloid beta in neurodegeneration. Rather than seeing it as a direct cause of neurodegeneration, these findings suggest it may in fact be more of a bystander, and may have limited responsibility for neurodegeneration. 

Next, the researchers intend to further examine the relationship between OCIAD1 and both amyloid beta and tau proteins. In particular, they are interested in determining whether OCIAD1 may be regarded as a biomarker or a target for new treatments. 

 

Sources: Science Daily, Being Patient and Alzheimer’s News Today





 

About the Author
  • Science writer with a keen interest in behavioral biology, consciousness medicine and technology. Her current focus is how the interplay of these fields can create meaningful interactions, products and environments.
You May Also Like
JAN 05, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Promising Epigenetic Treatment for Depression Works After One Dose
JAN 05, 2021
Promising Epigenetic Treatment for Depression Works After One Dose
Researchers affiliated with the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil have used epigenetic modulators to reduce stress-induc ...
JAN 26, 2021
Immunology
Can we Stop Multiple Sclerosis Progression?!
JAN 26, 2021
Can we Stop Multiple Sclerosis Progression?!
Multiple sclerosis is known for its progression of symptoms even after a period of complete remission. There is no way o ...
JAN 27, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Researchers Discover How LSD Encourages Prosocial Behavior
JAN 27, 2021
Researchers Discover How LSD Encourages Prosocial Behavior
Researchers from McGill University have discovered one of the possible mechanisms by which lysergic acid diethylamide (L ...
MAR 02, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Splice and Dice: Zeroing in on Rare Gene Variants in Alzheimer's
MAR 02, 2021
Splice and Dice: Zeroing in on Rare Gene Variants in Alzheimer's
DNA is the four-letter language that codes for genes, “paragraphs” of DNA information that carry specific in ...
APR 23, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
There Are 'Hotspots' of Genomic Repair in Neurons
APR 23, 2021
There Are 'Hotspots' of Genomic Repair in Neurons
It's thought that unlike cell types that are constantly replenishing themselves (like many types of blood cells, for ...
MAY 10, 2021
Health & Medicine
Scientific Insights Into Romantic Love
MAY 10, 2021
Scientific Insights Into Romantic Love
To better define what romantic love is exactly, social scientists reviewed the literature in the context of biologist Ti ...
Loading Comments...